Author Topic: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots  (Read 502 times)

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How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« on: January 30, 2014, 12:07:25 PM »

WASHINGTON –  Next time you call someone a Neanderthal, better look in a mirror.

Many of the genes that help determine most people's skin and hair are more Neanderthal than not, according to two new studies that look at the DNA fossils hidden in the modern human genome.

About 50,000 years ago, modern day humans migrated out of Africa north to Europe and East Asia and met up with furrow-browed Neanderthals that had been in the colder climates for more than 100,000 years. Some of the two species mated. And then the Neanderthals died off as a species — except for what's left inside of us.

Scientists isolated the parts of the non-African modern human genetic blueprint that still contain Neanderthal remnants. Overall, it's barely more than 1 percent, said two studies released Wednesday in the journals Nature and Science.

However, in some places, such as the DNA related to the skin, the genetic instructions are as much as 70 percent Neanderthal and in other places there's virtually nothing from the species that's often portrayed as brutish cavemen.

'We're more Neanderthal than not in [some] genes.'

- University of Washington genome scientist Joshua Akey

The difference between where Neanderthal DNA is plentiful and where it's absent may help scientists understand what in our genome "makes humans human," said University of Washington genome scientist Joshua Akey, lead author of the paper in Science.

Harvard researcher Sriram Sankararaman, the lead author of the Nature study, said the place where Neanderthal DNA seemed to have the most influence in the modern human genome has to do with skin and hair. Akey said those instructions are as much as 70 percent Neanderthal.

"We're more Neanderthal than not in those genes," Akey said.

However, Sankararaman cautions that scientists don't yet know just what the Neanderthal DNA dictates in our skin and hair.

Sarah Tishkoff, a professor of genetics and biology at the University of Pennsylvania who was not part of either study, theorized that the Neanderthal DNA probably helped the darker humans out of Africa cope with the cooler less bright north. Living in the cooler Europe means less ultraviolet light and less vitamin D from the sun. Darker skin blocks more of those needed rays, so lighter skin is more advantageous in the north and it seems that humans adopted that Neanderthal adaptation, she said.

Another area where we have more Neanderthal DNA is parts of genetic codes that have to do with certain immune system functions, Sankararaman said. Again, scientists can't say more than that these Neanderthal genes seem connected to certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and Crohn's disease and lupus, but they are there.

Tiskhoff and Akey said one of the most interesting parts in comparing human and Neanderthal genomes is where we don't see any caveman influence. That, Tiskhoff said, is "what makes us uniquely human" and those regions of genetic code "you just can't mess with."

One of those areas has been heavily connected to genes that determine speech and communication and there's nothing Neanderthal there, Akey said. This fits with theories that lack of communication skills hurt Neanderthal and speech ability was a distinctly human advantage, he said.

And the study in Nature found something that may help explain why the brutish and virile cavemen haven't influenced humans much: They may have made babies, but the male hybrids of Neanderthals and humans weren't very fertile. Scientists figured that out because the genes associated with the testicles in humans and the X chromosome were unusually empty of Neanderthal influence.

While Neanderthal males themselves were likely good at breeding, their half-human sons weren't and "they must have been disappointed in their sons," said Nature co-author Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

The Nature paper found that people of more East Asian descent had slightly more Neanderthal than Europeans, indicating that there may have been a second wave of interbreeding in Asia, researchers said.

Three outside scientists praised the two studies, which used different techniques to reach similar conclusions. And those conclusions were so close to each other and standard evolution theory that it all fits together in a scary way for scientists used to findings that surprise, said New York University anthropology professor Todd Disotell.

Disotell recently had his genome tested by a private company and found he's got more Neanderthal DNA than most people, about 2.9 percent: "I'm quite proud of that."


Another example of scientific "facts," which change over time. By that, I mean the previously held belief or opinion, that Neanderthals were unsuccessful, and died out.
"God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”

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Online aligncare

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Re: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 01:17:54 PM »
Are we talking democrats or republicans?
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Online Oceander

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Re: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 01:51:40 PM »
Are we talking democrats or republicans?

democrats are barely human, let alone as advanced as the Neanderthals were.  Calling a democrat a neanderthal is an insult to neanderthals.

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 04:08:38 PM »
For $99 dollars will run your DNA and tell you exactly who you are and where you came from......


Tuesday, October 22, 2013
AncestryDNA Gets Big Update

Last week released a new, upgraded experience for their autosomal DNA tests. Not only will new purchasers get the enhanced results, the results from past purchasers has been upgraded as well.

Dr. Catherine Ball, Vice President of Genomics and Bioinformatics for AncestryDNA said, “Today, the AncestryDNA science team has examined more than 700,000 DNA markers to create a genetic portrait for groups of people around the world. By comparing someone’s DNA to this core reference set, we can calculate an ethnicity estimate based on 26 global populations.”

The 26 global regions increases the number of regions from the previously identified 22. African ethnicity has expanded to a total of ten African regions, including six different countries/regions within Western Africa, including Benin/Togo, Cameroon/Congo, Ivory/Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. The British Isles is now divided into Great Britain and Ireland. Southern Europe is separated into the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and Italy/Greece.

The Autosomal DNA testing used in AncestryDNA’s test has been received with much more skepticism than the familiar Y-chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA tests. It has been a lot harder for me to understand. While Y-chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA are most often passed unchanged from parent to child, Y-chromosome tests are a reliable way of determining that two males share a common ancestor.

Autosomal DNA is a random recombination of DNA from both parents. I assume an ancestors DNA might be totally displaced, leaving no DNA evidence of that ancestor’s existence. Consequently, Autosomal DNA testing works best in determining broad, ethnic origins because the larger the group of ancestors, the more likely their genes are to have survived in you.

With the imminent release of these enhanced test results, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a test. Before the new results were released, A cousin and I were disappointed that our Native American ancestry was not indicated in the AncestryDNA results. My cousin subsequently did the 23-and-Me test and was pleased to see the expected 2% Native American ancestry.

Consequently, I was pleased to see the Native American ancestry in the new AncestryDNA results.

AncestryDNA new ethnicity report

The Irish ancestry, 21%, is larger than my pedigree would predict, which is 6.25%. This can be explained in a couple ways.

Just because an ancestor on your pedigree chart was born in England with an English surname doesn’t mean all their ancestors were “genetically pure Englishmen” (whatever that means). Some of my English ancestors most probably had intermarried with Irish persons.

AncestryDNA range of uncertaintyThe other explanation has to do with the science and math involved in the predictions. I won’t go into it here, but you can read more on the AncestryDNA website. (Oops. is doing one of those stupid popups that doesn’t have a URL, so I can’t send you to the explanation. This link will show the text but not the diagrams.) Suffice it to say that the percentages given are only averages. The actual value can be anywhere in a range that can be seen by clicking on the result.

For my 21% Irish ancestry, the actual value could be anywhere in the range of 6 to 36%, as shown in the diagram to the right. That covers the 6.25% value predicted by my pedigree.

Besides showing broad ancestral ethnicity, autosomal DNA can identity close, modern relatives. My results showed a close family member (actually, my uncle), one 1st-2nd cousin (roninsider55, who is actually my 1st cousins), two 2nd-3rd cousins (cooperjh and orchardgordon1, whom I don’t recognize by their codenames), three 3rd-4th cousins, over 70 4th-6th cousins, and a 110 pages of distant cousins. Your mileage may vary. I’m a descendent of early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which heavily encourages members to do genealogy, so I am not surprised.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

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Re: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 04:46:28 PM »

Celtic, or Norse--since Dublin was founded by Vikings?

And if dubbed Irish by virtue of Celtic bloodlines, how to distinguish that from Celtic Scots ? (Since the Scots migrated over from Ireland)

Irish legends have their ancestors coming across the seas from coastal Spain, where there is a province called Galicia and they have bagpipes there.

But the Celts of the Iberian peninsula would have migrated previously from the Central Asian steppes, beforehand.

Those Central Asian steppes were also the origin point of present day Germanic and Scandinavian "tribes."
"God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”

Abe Lincoln

Offline EC

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Re: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 12:08:29 AM »
To get the obvious joke out of the way first - looking around our local pub, the Neanderthals never left, they just moved to Woolwich.

I do find this fascinating. The idea that a mere 50,000 years ago there was a completely different intelligent race, close enough to interbreed, is thought provoking.

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Offline DCPatriot

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Re: How much Neanderthal DNA do you have? Lots
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 12:14:19 AM »
...and they were probably redheads.    :seeya:
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

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